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Writing successful research proposals

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Training slides from Prof Mark Reed, Newcastle University, on how to write research funding proposals

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Writing successful research proposals

  1. 1. Bid writing
  2. 2. Question:Plan 1. Before you start… 2. Tools for co-producing bids 3. Writing good proposals
  3. 3. Before you start…
  4. 4. Question:Start work before the call for proposals  Pre-build concept notes and collaborations to hit the ground running  Circles of trust: small projects, paper writing or peripheral roles before inviting to core roles (e.g. WP lead)  Include non-academic partners in the circle  Identify major programmes and their themes (e.g. Landscape Decisions or GCRF)  Draft concept notes with key collaborators (bring in others to plug gaps once calls are out)
  5. 5. Question:Start work before the call for proposals  Assess your chances of success  Feedback on concept note and team fit to call from colleagues with panel experience  Research the kinds of projects funded from (and panelists on) previous calls, looking for biases that might count against you and missing areas that might make you more competitive  Tap your networks to see if there are certain criteria that are particularly important (e.g. balance of disciplines in cross-Council calls)  Only apply for calls that you fit well
  6. 6. Toolsfor co-producing bids
  7. 7. Who has a stake in my research? 1. Stakeholder/publics analysis and partner identification around issue(s) from call that match research interests 2. Identify impact goals (with evidence of need) linked to pathways, indicators and risks/assumptions using logic model 3. Synthesise and strategise to integrate goals with pathways that could lead from research (using Theory of Change) 4. Involve partners in design of research to deliver impact goals Co-producing a proposal
  8. 8. Who has a stake in my research? 1. Stakeholder/publics analysis and partner identification around issue(s) from call that match research interests 2. Identify impact goals (with evidence of need) linked to pathways, indicators and risks/assumptions using logic model 3. Synthesise and strategise to integrate goals with pathways that could lead from research (using Theory of Change) 4. Involve partners in design of research to deliver impact goals Co-producing a proposal
  9. 9. Who has a stake in my research?Identifying stakeholders & partners
  10. 10. Who has a stake in my research? 1. Who is interested? 2. Who has influence (to facilitate or block impact)? 3. Who is impacted? To what extent are they interested, influential and likely to benefit? Why? Three questions
  11. 11. ...adapt to your own needs Stakeholder/publics analysis
  12. 12. Partnership building template For more information about identifying partners, see: http://www.ukcdr.org.uk/resources/finding-and-building-effective-partnerships
  13. 13. Who has a stake in my research? 1. Stakeholder/publics analysis and partner identification around real-world issue(s) that match your research interests (based on call for proposals if this has come out) 2. Identify impact goals (with evidence of need) linked to pathways, indicators and risks/assumptions using logic model 3. Synthesise and strategise to integrate goals with pathways that could lead from research (using Theory of Change) 4. Involve partners in design of research to deliver impact goals Co-produce research for real impact
  14. 14. Impact planning template for GCRF projects
  15. 15.  Bottom-up:  Stakeholder and partner identification  Complete impact planning templates with in-country partners across all WPs  Thematically group impact goals Evaluating ImpactWorked example  Arrange impact goals in causal chains  Look back to activities in templates to further trace back to research
  16. 16.  Top-down:  Identify impact goals that intersect with fundable research questions (see next section)  Create an overall project goal that integrates research contribution with impact  Identify missing impact goals, links in causal chains or research (e.g. using Theory of Change)  Check balance of activities across WPs, themes etc  Go back to impact templates to write:  Impact summary (linking goals to beneficiaries) and  Pathway to impact (including risks and mitigation, impact track record, resources and approach to monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning) Evaluating ImpactWorked example
  17. 17. www.fasttrackimpact.com/toc
  18. 18. Writing good proposals
  19. 19.  Ensure you have fundable research questions before deciding research design, WPs or impact  Ensure you have clearly articulated (and evidenced) the rigour, originality and academic significance of the research and its strategic fit to the call  Each research question/aim needs to be original and significant in academic terms  Separate impact goals to avoid negative feedback on their originality and academic significance  Be able to sum up your contribution in a single memorable sentence (including the originality and academic significance – and impact for applied research) Evaluating ImpactWriting tips
  20. 20.  At least 50% of the Case for Support should be on the work programme with sufficient detail and justification on research design and methods  Don’t lose sight of the call aims  Connect WPs to research questions clearly  Consider a diagram to explain links between research design, WPs and research questions  Plan your time to get multiple pre-reviews to foresee and respond to likely reviewers Evaluating ImpactWriting tips
  21. 21. www.fasttrackimpact.com/resources
  22. 22. www.fasttrackimpact.com @fasttrackimpact

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